Duterte to certify rice tariff bill as urgent

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2018 03:32 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2018 05:20 PM

A vendor sells government-subsidized rice in a Quezon City market on June 26, 2018. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte will soon certify as urgent a bill that seeks to impose tariffs on rice in place of import quotas to bring down the price of the staple, a finance official said Wednesday.

With import duties in place, rice prices can go down by P4 to P7 per kilo and shave 0.4 point from the inflation rate, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

Imposing rice tariffs is "extremely crucial" and a "top priority" for government to keep inflation within target, he said.

Consumer prices rose 5.2 percent in June, the sharpest increase based on data from January 2013. Officials have blamed elevated prices of oil in the world market for the record inflation.

The impact of tax reform on inflation is "on the dot," he said.

Under the first tranche of reforms that took effect last Jan. 1, the government raised duties on fuel, sugar-sweetened drinks and cars to offset a reduction in personal income tax rates and help fund the government's P8 trillion infrastructure program.

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